- Applications for cremation authorisation have a range of documentation requirements under the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003.
- It is an offence to cremate or assist in the cremation of bodily remains without a cremation authorisation.
- Cemetery trusts must make cremated remains available for collection within two working days of the cremation.
Application for cremation authorisation
An applicant or someone acting on their behalf (for example, a funeral director) may apply to a cemetery trust that provides cremation services for cremation authorisation.
Applications must be made using forms that are prescribed under the Cemeteries and Crematoria Regulations 2015 and meet documentation requirements under the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act. Forms and documentation requirements differ depending on whether the remains are:
- a deceased person aged 28 days or older
- a live-born child who dies within 28 days after birth
- a still-born child
- bodily remains of unknown name
- foetal remains that are not a still-born child
- body parts that are not foetal remains
- body parts of unknown name with an identifier.
Cremation of deceased persons of known identity
Form 3 is a prescribed form for applications for cremation authorisation for deceased persons of known identity, including a live-born child who dies within 28 days after birth and a still-born child. Form 3 must be accompanied by supporting documentation in accordance with s.131(3) of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act. For example, a medical certificate of cause of death issued by a doctor under s. 37(2) of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996.
Form 4 is also a prescribed form for applications for cremation authorisation for deceased persons of known identity in most cases. Please note that Form 4 is not required for applications that relate to a still-born child, a death investigated by a coroner or a death that occurred outside Victoria.
Form 4 must be completed by a registered medical practitioner who is not the registered medical practitioner who completed the notice required under s. 37(2) of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act for the death of the deceased person who is to be cremated.
If the death occurred outside Victoria, an authority to cremate under the hand of the coroner or other person permitted by the law of the jurisdiction where the deceased died to authorise cremation may be sufficient as a supporting document for consideration by the cemetery trust. However, if the cemetery trust is unsure of the validity of the documentation, the applicant must be referred to the department to seek .
Foetal remains and body parts
If an application relates to foetal remains that are not a still-born child, or body parts that are not foetal remains, there are no prescribed forms for the application. However, minimum information requirements are prescribed in the Cemeteries and Crematoria Regulations that must be provided to the cemetery trust in writing. See Topic 13 of the for details.
Cremation of remains of unknown identity
If bodily remains to be cremated are of unknown name or have an identifier, for example a cadaver imported for surgical teaching, an application for cremation authorisation must be made using Form 3A.
Before submitting Form 3A to a cemetery trust, the applicant must seek written cremation authorisation from the department. The department’s authorisation is then attached to Form 3A as accompanying documentation before the application is submitted to the cemetery trust for consideration. More information is available at .
Applications for authorisation to cremate body parts of unknown name with an identifier must be made using Form 3B.
Applications that do not meet documentation requirements
If an applicant is unable to meet documentation requirements under the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act, the cemetery trust should refer the applicant to the department. More information about the departmental application process is available at .
Approval of application for cremation authorisation
If the cemetery trust is satisfied with the application, they must grant the cremation authorisation. Approval of a cremation authorisation should be confirmed in writing.
It is an offence to cremate or assist in the cremation of bodily remains without a cremation authorisation. This offence is punishable by a maximum penalty of 600 penalty units or five years imprisonment or both.
Transporting remains for cremation
The remains transported into a public cemetery for cremation must be suitably enclosed in a coffin, container or receptacle that complies with requirements under r. 26 of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Regulations.
The cemetery trust may inspect a coffin and its contents to ensure that neither will impede the cremation process or cause damage to the cremator.
Release of cremated remains
The cemetery trust must make cremated remains available for collection within two working days of the cremation. Cremated remains may only be released to the applicant, the applicant’s agent or in certain circumstances the nearest surviving relative of the deceased.
If the cremated remains are not collected, the cemetery trust must hold them for at least 12 months. If the remains are not collected within 12 months, the trust may dispose of the remains if at least three months before the expiry of the 12 months they take reasonable steps to notify the applicant of the trust’s intention to dispose of the remains.
Reviewed 27 November 2023